By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
December 6, 2006
The Hood River Valley boys’ basketball team had to shake off a week’s worth of rust when they took the floor for their first two games of the season on Friday and Monday.
The effects of a week of did not show too much as the Eagles rained down three pointers in a narrow 61-55 loss to Rex Putnam on Friday, but could not find the hoop when they needed to in a hard-fought 57-48 defeat at the hands of The Dalles-Wahtonka on Monday.
Rex Putnam 61 Hood River Valley 55
Being snowed in for a week did not seem to hurt the Hood River Valley boys’ basketball team too much on Friday.
The time off did not seem to hurt their fans’ vocal cords either.
The Eagles hung with Rex Putnam throughout the game, only to have shots that they had all night start missing in the final seconds and fell 61-55 in their season opener on Friday.
With Putnam clinging to a five-point lead with 3:39 remaining, Hood River’s Jon Ing drove the basket and collided with a Putnam player as he made the shot. Instead of cutting the lead to three and sending Ing to the line, the Hood River guard was called for charging, giving the ball back to Putnam.
The crowd became so loud that it drowned out the protestations of first-year Hood River coach Zach Pauls. Or nearly drowned him out. The incensed Pauls received a technical foul, only the second of his coaching career, sending Chial Alba to the line for Putnam. Alba, who would finish with 22 points and gave the Hood River defense fits with pinpoint shooting all night, missed both the free-throws to keep the Eagles alive.
However, the Eagles would get no closer than four points the rest of the way.
Even though he did not get the win in his Eagle coaching debut, Pauls was just happy with the way his team responded after nearly a week away from practice.
“I’m very impressed at the way we came out and competed,” he said. “The way they came out and played with that much heart is amazing.”
Both teams’ matched each other shot for shot in the early going and were tied 32-32 at the half.
Whenever the Eagles would get a chance to get over the hump and take a lead, Alba would put them back into a hole with a three pointer. However, Seth Amaral kept the Eagles going with a flurry of three pointers of his own and finished with 18 points.
Amaral’s 18 points led the Eagles in scoring, while Andy Kennedy pitched in 9 points, Adam Williams and K.C. Christensen both had 8 points, and Jon Ing added seven.
Alba’s 22 points were the high for Putnam, which also got 10 points from post Ali Mihub and nine points Scott Cach.
The Dalles-Wahtonka 57 Hood River 48
The Dalles-Wahtonka and Hood River Valley have been rivals for years, and it showed Monday night.
While neither team could consistently take advantage of opportunities to score, the players did not waste a chance to put an opponent on the floor.
The game featured gritty play throughout including a first quarter that at one point had more total fouls on the board than points scored, with both teams diving after balls and scrapping for points, but in the end, just as it had in their previous game, the basket seemed to go closed for the Eagles in the final minutes.
After the Eagle-Indians took a 34-31 lead into halftime, Hood River used an effective press to come up with several turnovers in the third quarter to build a 40-38 lead after the third, taking advantage of Eagle-Indian fouls to turn the turnovers into points.
However, in the fourth, The Dalles-Wahtonka went on a run of its own, opening the fourth with an 8-1 run. With both teams in the double bonus midway through the final quarter, it was The Eagle-Indian’s turn to take advantage of foul shots down the stretch to pull away for the final margin.
“Right now it’s a big mark of conditioning for us,” Hood River coach Zach Pauls said of his team not being able to hit shots at the end of the game. “We have to overcome it by making better decisions sometimes. Its a tough stretch and we are just going to keep trying to get better.”
The Dalles-Wahtonka first-year coach Bob Townsend was impressed with the fight that both teams put up, in what he has quickly realized is a fierce rivalry game.
“It was definitely a battle and a competitive game,” he said. “It’s a well-fought rivalry and (we) are just happy to come out on the winning side.”
K.C. Christensen led the Eagles with 13 points, while Shay Huskey added 11 and Seth Amaral kicked in 10 points.
Jason Yecny led the Eagle-Indians with 15 points, while Adam Koch scored nine points and Damian Telles added eight points.